Tracking the Rise of Brand-Focused Mobile Advertising in China - eMarketer

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Tracking the Rise of Brand-Focused Mobile Advertising in China

Brand-focused mobile ads see strong gains in ad traffic share

May 16, 2016

When it comes to mobile advertising in China, marketers and consumers are increasingly shifting their attention to brand-based, rather than performance-based, mobile ads. According to 2015 mobile advertising research from analytics firm TalkingData, brand-based mobile ad traffic’s share in China increased by more than 10 percentage points between 2014 and 2015, growing from 25.8% in 2014 to 36.5% in 2015.

Brand- vs. Performance-Based Mobile Ad Traffic Share in China, 2014 & 2015 (% of total)

While there’s no definite cause for the shift, a number of potential factors may be contributing to the growth of such brand-based mobile advertising. One explanation might be historic underinvestment in mobile ad spending as compared to other ad formats like print and radio. eMarketer's own analysis found that advertisers in China spent just $0.03 for every hour adults spent with mobile in 2016, excluding voice activities. This was in comparison to $0.08 spent per hour in 2016 on print, and $0.06 spent per hour on radio.

Major Media Ad Spending per Hour Spent with Media per Adult in China, by Media, 2012-2017

In other words, even as consumers in China spend more time with mobile devices, brand advertisers haven’t been investing a proportionate share of their media dollars, leading such mobile ads to be undervalued in relation to other ad formats.

When considering the most-popular brand-based mobile ad formats in terms of traffic in TalkingData’s study, branded video and in-feed mobile ads were the most popular, with video receiving 33.5% of all mobile ad traffic, while in-feed received another 21.6% of mobile ad traffic.

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